The Galleon - Portsmouth's Student Newspaper

»
»

Union News

Interview: VP Welfare & Community Candidate, Dione Vengai

Where are you originally from?
Zimbabwe, has lived in the UK since 2011.

What originally drew you to the University of Portsmouth?
The supportive environment in the university, personal tutors and resident life teams. They have all provided reliable networks and this level of support is something that’s not available at all universities.

What is your favourite thing about the city of Portsmouth?
The balance between the sea and the city is a positive attribute. I feel like the city is calmer than most cities. You can still go out and have fun but you can also find peace and quiet in the library and other spaces around the campus if you need to study and focus.

Who is your idol and why?
God. I’ve always looked up to him since I was very young.

What is your dream job and why?
There isn’t a specific role in mind, the only vital ingredient to the job is that I’m the boss haha. That I’m in charge haha.

If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing that you would buy?
I don’t think I would buy anything. I would use the money to fuel the foundations for my charity for the homeless in Zimbabwe with funds and support. So I guess I would invest that money in land or something like that.

What was the primary reason for you running in the student elections?
My work as a resident life assistant has seen me confront and deal with multiple issues from students e.g. bullying, sexual assault etc. I’ve had so much experience working amidst the student community and helping people through their problems. And even though I was initially unsure about applying for this position, I realised that I might actually be a good fit for the role.

If you could change one thing that would instantly improve everyday life for students at the university, what would it be and why?
Heightening the importance of mental health. Making sure that people struggling with mental health are appropriately reached. I am an advocate for the the Triage call line for students to use for mental health problems as people do not know enough about the support networks and services available to them. Students need to be made more aware of the support networks in place. Not enough of them know who they can turn to in times of need.

Sum up your manifesto in roughly 10-15 seconds
I’m a business and management student who has had much experience in representing the students as a course guide. I believe in promoting safety, 24/7 support service for mental health, and student security. I’m a positive and self-motivated person who will try her best to deliver on these promises.

How do you intend to promote the union to our less engaged students?
By making sure people are aware of what the student union is, what kind of services it provides e.g. study spaces, social space, free condoms and tampons. By making it more approachable with regular emails and advertising, students will become more aware of how the union can help them.

What is the biggest issue facing the university?
Mental health awareness and the need for appropriate advertising of services through emails, posters, university TVs and course tutors. In particular, course tutors should be advertised as a network of support more and paired with individual students for the entirety of their university course so that a close relationship can be created. Not many students have that bond and continuity and I think that having a constant, consistent source of tutorial support will really make a difference to student wellbeing and welfare.